Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Sanctuary” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  14,489 Ratings  ·  360 Reviews
Photographer Jo Ellen Hathaway thought she'd escaped the house called Sanctuary long ago. She'd spent her loneliest years there, after the sudden, unexplained disappearance of her mother. Yet the sprawling resort off the Georgia coast continues to haunt her dreams. And now, even more haunting are the pictures someone is sending her: strange close-ups and candids, culminati ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 506 pages
Published 1998 by Jove (first published 1997)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Sanctuary, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Sanctuary

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Ok. Fair enough- you don't expect a romance novel to change your life but this was just...bad.

Your loving mother disappears in the night? Don't worry about her- hate her! She must have run off. True, she never showed any signs of unhappiness or unfaithfulness, but you know women...

Your best friend disappears from a bonfire? When you check her house, nothing is missing and it's clear she never came back from said party?
Pshaw! No worries! She's probably not dead- she must have met a man and run
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 21, 2016 Allie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Oh dear, I have enjoyed several Nora Roberts books in the past but this fell way short of a decent story.

Jo Hathaway, a successful photographer flees back to the Desire, the island she grew up on after being targeted by a cruel stalker. Someone is sending her disturbing pictures of her mother - and she disappeared twenty years ago.

One dimensional characters, an awful plot line and a murderer that I worked out REALLY early on. Not to mention a dodgy hero and a dysfunctional family. I'll still r
Alex is The Romance Fox
Photographer Jo Ellen Hathaway thought she'd escaped the house called Sanctuary long ago. She'd spent her loneliest years there, after the sudden, unexplained disappearance of her mother. Yet the sprawling inn off the Georgia coast continues to haunt her dreams. And now, even more haunting are the pictures someone is sending her: strange close-ups and candids, culminating in the most shocking portrait of all—a photo of her mother—naked, beautiful, and dead.

Now Jo must return to the island
Oct 04, 2009 Dee rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
Here's another longer NR book that tries to develop three different romances in the same book, and again, I'd rather she stuck to one per book. I feel like she didn't do the main romance justice.

And there was just a little too much nastiness in this one, rapes and murders, and...

*spoiler here*

*stop reading if you don't want to know whodunit.*

... the really evil sociopaths were the father and brother of our hero. Didn't like that much.
May 24, 2015 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always enjoy Nora. I find her style good to escape in four a few hours. yes her books are fairly predictable but getting there is always good.
Jan 11, 2016 Tammy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I haven't read a good mystery in a long time. This story us about a family that was torn apart by a tragedy that happened twenty years ago. Jo Ellen's family lives on a island off the coast of Georgia while she us a famous photographer in New York. Jo Ellen gets some pictures sent to her that turns her world upside down to the point where she is hospitalized with a breakdown. When she us released from the hospital she goes back home to the island to spend time with her family. While she us there ...more
Sahika B.A.Y.
Mar 01, 2015 Sahika B.A.Y. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In dem Roman „Insel der Sehnsucht“, geschrieben von Nora Roberts im Jahr 1997 mit englischem Originaltitel “Sanctuary“, geht es um eine Familie mit drei Kindern, die durch das spurlose Verschwinden der Mutter von der Insel SANCTUARY zerbrochen ist und wieder zueinander findet.

Nach dem Verschwinden der Mutter der Hathaway Kinder: Jo Ellen Hathaway, Brian Hathaway und Lexy Hathaway als sie noch recht jung waren, ist das Leben nicht mehr so wie es früher war, klingt klischeehaft, ist es auch. Alle
Amber Beasley
May 29, 2012 Amber Beasley rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mushy gushy women that love romance and also a good thrill.
Recommended to Amber by: My boss.
Didn't care for this book all that much. I liked the plot and the main idea for the story. And I really like the mystery of it. But for one thing, it was a little too easy to figure out. A little too much Criminal Minds, I guess, but I picked up on who the stalker/murderer was pretty easily. Also, the characters were really annoying. They can't decide what they want, who they want. and they're constantly yelling or telling each other off. I understand that that is kind of what the story is about ...more
Kelly Van den Broecke
Eerlijk, ik wist niet goed wat te verwachten van dit boek. De samenvatting was wat vaag maar nora roberts kennende gaf ik het een kans. En wat voor kans. Van bij het begin zit je in het verhaal en wil je gewoon verder. Ik vond het een spannend verhaal. De moeder van fotografe Jo Ellen is 20 jaar opeens verdwenen. Zowel zij als haar broer, zus en vader dachten dat ze in de steek gelaten werden door haar. Nu 20 jaar verder leidt de familie elk apart zijn bestaan. Totdat Jo Ellen ineens foto's van ...more
The Book Eaters
The original review, and many other reviews and features, can be found at

Nora Roberts. Her romantic murder mysteries are a bit like hotel buffet breakfasts- pretty standard fare, generally satisfying but leaves you with a feeling that, although you knew what you would get, it could have been so much better.

Sanctuary is not the book that bucks this trend.

The premise of a 30-something woman returning to the island home she left at 18 to confront either her own insani
Nikita (NjKinny's World of Books & Stuff)
Feb 01, 2014 Nikita (NjKinny's World of Books & Stuff) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who love romantic suspense..
Jo Ellen Hathaway is a famous photographer and has it all- name, fame, money and professional satisfaction but one thing that still eludes her is mental peace. She is haunted by dreams of her past. When she left Sanctuary years ago, she had hoped of leaving her horrid past behind but the secrets and unhappiness still follow her. As if this is not enough, she is now being stalked by someone who is sending her photographs of herself clicked everywhere, inside and outside her house. Afraid but dete ...more
Bonnie Staughton
I am a BIG fan of Nora Roberts and have read many of her books. I enjoyed the "story" line of "Sanctuary, the characters and the "twist" when you realize who the murderer & stalker really is. But, as another reviewer said, there just seemed to be "something missing". I can't put my finger on it but it seemed like the story progressed just a tad bit too slow for Nora Roberts's usual style. I usually can't put her books down but this one didn't really compel me to keep reading nonstop. As one ...more
Katie Q
Aug 30, 2015 Katie Q rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
Cannot put my finger on it but I do feel that something was lacking in this book. Maybe a little more depth to the mystery? I am not so sure. Don't get me wrong I enjoyed the story just felt a little empty at times.
Joana Marques
Jan 12, 2014 Joana Marques rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
De vez em quando sabe bem voltar a Nora Roberts. Uma leitura mais leve, que não nos obriga a pensar, que nos abstrai dos problemas que nos rodeiam e que, quase sempre, se torna agradável.
Desta vez a autora leva-nos a conhecer Jo Ellen, uma fotógrafa profissional que tenta superar o abandono da mãe no passado, que foge de casa para construir uma vida autónoma sem precisar da ajuda de ninguém. Mas depressa Jo percebe que, como dizia Hemingway, “nenhum homem é uma ilha”. Depressa percebe que o pass
Aug 16, 2010 Samantha rated it it was amazing
I loved it. It was great. Full of suspense, love, and mystery just like all of Nora's books. I loved the island setting, too. It was easy for me to paint the image in my mind being a Floridian.
Jul 08, 2016 Miki rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
On a scale of one to ten, it's better than a kick in the pants. Marginally.
Jul 22, 2015 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love just about every book I read by Nora Roberts. They are so easy to sink into and just devour as quickly as possible. I liked Jo's character and loved reading about her and how by going back to Sanctuary and trying to fit back into her estranged family, she becomes a stronger person. It was fairly dark in places as well as romantic, disturbing and exciting. I think my favourite character had to be Kirby because she was the one who stood out most for me. I loved her relationship with Brian a ...more
Aromas de Cor
Mar 07, 2016 Aromas de Cor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eu nunca tinha lido nenhum livro de Nora Roberts. Este foi o primeiro, recebi-o numa troca de presentes do grupo Sinfonia dos Livros.
Como queria começar a ler livros da minha estante agarrei neste um pouco relutante, pois achava que ia ser uma pirosice, mas enganei-me, achei o enredo muito interessante e a história muito bem conseguida.

Ficamos a conhecer Jo Ellen, marcada pelo passado, pelo abandono da mãe, por viver numa zona erma e pelo relacionamento algo conturbado com a família. Jo Ellem c
Kathy Disanto
Jan 28, 2015 Kathy Disanto rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In my opinion, this is one of Nora's best. The family dynamics are fascinating, the hero's secret devastating, for everyone. Jo's combination of vulnerability and sheer grit hooked me from page 1. Plus, Nora isn't shy about killing off likable characters, which most of the dead in this book are. The island setting puts the cast of characters in a pressure cooker and heightens the suspense until it vibrates like a plucked string. Plus, the ending takes place during a hurricane. What more could yo ...more
Twenty years after her mother's disappearance, Jo Ellen gets photographs in the mail. They are photographs of her mother: some candid, some close-up, and some of her naked, beautiful, and dead.
Jo Ellen hasn't been back in years. She thought that she had left that house a long time ago. Left the darkness that came over the island off the coast of Georgia and her family's lives when her mother, Annabelle, disappeared. But that island, Sanctuary, is a part of her. It haunts her dreams, and Jo reali
Jo Ellen Hathaway left her home on Desire Island, a private resort off the Georgia coast, two years ago. She's now living in Charlotte, North Carolina but travels the world as a successful photographer. Jo recently began receiving odd photographs of her, close-ups that point to someone having followed her to many locations. She becomes haunted by them and hits her wall when she receives one that appears to be of her mother Annabelle, dead, and who disappeared 20 years ago. Jo returns home to the ...more
Jul 29, 2009 Ana rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody
Recommended to Ana by: Nobody
I was in the mood for a murder mystery when I bought this book a few weeks ago. I have read one Nora Roberts in the past (Midnight Bayou) which I really liked. Strangely enough, it was the ONLY one of her books I liked. The very first sentence in this book reminded me too much of DuMaurier's "Rebecca", for a start; a little unoriginal. Then I stumbled across the name of the fictional island in the story - "Lost Desire" - and I just knew this was going to be one heck of a cheesy ride. If you love ...more
Amy A
Apr 18, 2012 Amy A rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was another good book from Nora Roberts. So far I believe this time period in her works (late 90's to early 2000's) is my favorite. I haven't really read much of her later works yet.

Jo Ellen Hathaway is the main character in Sanctuary. Although her family including her father, brother, sister (and their prospective romances) all have their own page time, the story really takes off with Jo.

Jo is a photographer who left her family's island of Desire when she was 18 and rarely goes
Jul 23, 2011 Deb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-books-read
Romance + sex + mystery + dysfunctional family + island setting = A great hot-weather read. Norah Roberts doesn't disappoint. It's not great literature, but it's great entertainment. Jo Ellen Hathaway, an up-and-coming photographer, suffers a nervous breakdown after receiving disturbing photos of her long-missing mother. She returns to her family home on an island named Desire (!) off the Savannah, Georgia coast to recover. Her brother Brian, sister Lexy, and father Sam have been maintaining an ...more
Sara Gonçalves
May 02, 2012 Sara Gonçalves rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
Finalmente meti as mãos a este livro para o ler. Por várias vezes li a sinopse deste livro na internet, mas confesso que foi, até agora, a sinopse que menos me atraiu. Ainda assim, na falta de um livro para ler, e estando este livro disponível na biblioteca, e claro, sendo da Nora Roberts, teve que vir comigo para o ler. E ainda bem, porque é uma história que gostei muito de ler.
Este livro fala sobre uma família com feridas, que surgiram devido à suposta fuga de Anabelle, esposa e mãe, à coisa d
Mónica Horta
Dec 08, 2013 Mónica Horta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance-suspense
Refúgio é mais um dos livros de Nora Roberts que conquistou um lugar especial no meu coração. É certo que sou uma fã confessa dos livros da Nora. Mas isso não significa que adore tudo o que ela escreve. Há obras mais interessantes que outras, temas mais sugestivos ou que por este ou aquele motivo me dizem mais. Foi o caso deste.

O ambiente paradisíaco da acção do livro deixou-me com água na boca. Só me apetecia estar junto das personagens, naquela ilha maravilhosa, perdida no espaço e no tempo. P
Sep 15, 2012 Mafi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, 2012, pt
Muita gente sabe que sou grande fã da autora Nora Roberts e que um dos meus objectivos na minha vida literária é ler todos os livros dela. No entanto apesar de ser grande apreciadora dos romances de Roberts, afirmo que todos os livros têm a mesma fórmula = romance+mistério+final feliz e que por vezes aborrece-me um bocado, tento não ler muitos livros seguidos de forma a não enjoar, mas desta vez decidi pegar em "Refúgio" logo após ter acabado "Mentiras Crúeis" e talvez devido a isso, não gostei ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • The Official Nora Roberts Companion
  • Imitation in Death (In Death, #17)
  • Pearl Cove (Donovan, #3)
Nora Roberts was born in Silver Spring, Maryland. She began writing when a blizzard in February 1979 kept her in her hilltop home with a three and six year old for nearly a week of canceled kindergarten and dwindling chocolate supplies.

During the now-famous blizzard, she pulled out a pencil and notebook and began to write a story for her own entertainment. From the first page, she knew it was wha
More about Nora Roberts...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“She hadn’t felt the click often enough in her life to take it for granted. And when it was so obviously echoed in the man who caused it . . . that was something to think about.” 0 likes
More quotes…